AROMATHERAPY oils are well known for their stress-relieving properties.
But while people have been indulging in the benefits of lavender, tea tree and chamomile for years, man’s best friend is now able to enjoy their benefits too.

Dog trainer Lynn Aitchison has been using her aroma- therapy talents to help dogs at the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home (EDCH) after training in the unusual field last year.

She believes the techniques used help the dogs at the home, who are often troubled, become less stressed and anxious.

Mrs Aitchison, known as the “dog lady”, lets the dogs choose their scent through sniffing different bottles until they find one they like.

The scent is then poured on to a cotton wool pad and clipped to the dog’s cage so it is with them for several hours.

Mrs Aitchison, from Portobello, says the oils can have an almost immediate effect on a dog’s behaviour.

Just last week, a nervous terrier was brought into the shelter, and was shaking all over.

Mrs Aitchison brought out some soothing oils and within five minutes, the shaking had stopped.

The 59-year-old said: “With people, you’re massaging with aromatherapy oils but with dogs you don’t touch them at all. It’s purely making use of dogs’ more sensitive sense of smell.

“A lot of the time when dogs are brought into the home, their behaviour can be a bit erratic and oils such as lavender and bergamot, which is a stabiliser, can help.

“Geranium, which is a security builder, can often help dogs deal with major upheavals.

“My own dog was attacked quite severely last year by dogs that came out of a house just along the road from me.

“She was petrified to walk past that location because she was convinced this dog was going to come and get her so I did aromatherapy with her.

“I definitely think that made all the difference to getting my dog relaxed when she was passing this house.”

She added: “Members of the public could use this technique too if they have moved house or are getting an extension built and there’s lots of noise and workmen going about.”

Mrs Aitchison, who is one of only two dog trainers in Scotland accredited by The Kennel Club, has also trained staff at the EDCH to use the oils to calm the dogs down if and when they need the techniques.

EDCH general manager, David Ewing, said: “Lynn’s knowledge is invaluable to our staff, helping them to make our frightened dogs feel safe, making it easier for us to work with them, and preparing them for their new homes.

“Lynn is known as “the dog lady” and as well as sharing her knowledge on aroma- therapy, she spends much of the time during her weekly visits keeping the dogs up to scratch with basic skills, such as “sit” and “stay”.

“Because she uses positive treat-reinforced methods, the long-term dogs now see her as “the sweetie lady” and promptly sit as soon as Lynn comes into sight.”

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Moggy back home after 18-day Tasman trip

Man with cat

A Te Puke moggy who spent 18 days locked in a shipping container bound for Adelaide is now back home with his friends at Tesco drilling company.

Douglas the 18-month-old jet black cat, named after former All Black Doug Howlett, was found in a plastic bag at the end of a driveway by residents living near the drilling company yard.

Since then the inquisitive feline has spent his days basking in the sun and entertaining international visitors to the company’s New Zealand base.

As Douglas is renowned for getting inside cars and shipping containers, on March 29 staff were sure to listen out for his distinctive cry before shutting up three containers of drilling equipment bound for Australia.

“We normally hear him crying and moaning if he gets locked in anywhere,” Tesco technician Andrew Leota said.

But after Douglas hadn’t been seen for two weeks, Mr Leota contacted customs to report his disappearance and asked them to check for him when the containers were opened on Saturday.

Knowing how hot it can be inside the containers, Mr Leota said staff had grave fears for their feline friend’s safety and a vet was on standby when the containers were opened.

An initial search revealed no sign of the stowaway but the following day Douglas strolled from one of the containers seemingly unscathed. “If he’d left a month earlier [when the weather was warmer], I’d say he would have been toast,” Mr Leota said.

Douglas was flown back to New Zealand over the weekend and despite more than two weeks without food, Mr Leota said he did not appear to have lost a lot of weight.

Mr Leota said plans would be put in place to make sure Douglas did not take any more illegal overseas trips. “We’re probably going to write up a work procedure involving Douglas just to double check,” he said.

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Pub punters buy plaque to remember dead cat

A CAT that was run over has been honoured with a plaque in his favourite place – the pub.
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Residents adopted stray Fletcher, King of Spital Street, in 2006 and he spent years curling up on punters’ laps at the Royal Oak, Dartford, Kent.

They raised £200 for the tribute. Barmaid Lauren Windget, 25, said: “He was lovely. He deserves this.”

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AN animal welfare charity has offered a £1,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who hanged a cat on a housing estate in Warwick.

Earlier this month the BBC reported a black cat had been found dead in Kempton Drive with white shoelace knotted around her neck. It is believed the animal had still been alive when hanged and the RSPCA called the attack “cold and calculating” and “horrific”.

This week The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) – a UK-based animal welfare charity – offered up the four-figure reward for information in the case.

Spokesperson Alistair Currie said: “Animal abusers are cowards.

“They take their issues out on the most defenceless beings available to them.”

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

For more information visit

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A leading animal charity has warned that too many cat owners are failing to neuter their pets.

The Blue Cross says record numbers of kittens are being dumped at rescue centres, because their owners are unable to look after them all.

The charity says the summer is usually their busiest time, but this year they already have long waiting lists for many of their centres.

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Probe after cat shot with air gun in Allloa

Cat shot with Airgun

Animal welfare officers have appealed for information after a cat was shot with an air gun in Clackmannanshire.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the seven-month-old male was shot in the leg in Alloa.

The incident was reported on Sunday 17 April after the cat returned to its owner in the town’s Fairyburn Road.

The charity has appealed for anyone with information about who is responsible to come forward.

Scottish SPCA inspector Louise Seddon said: “The cat is a seven-month-old ginger male called Indy.

“His owner saw blood on his left hind leg and thought it may have been caused by a tic.

“But she then found a small hard lump and took Indy to a local vet practice where an airgun pellet was removed.

“Thankfully, Indy is OK but this is a very worrying incident and we are keen to trace whoever was responsible.”

The charity warned that shooting an animal was a serious offence and could result in a prison sentence and fine of up to £20,000.

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Mum escapes house fire thanks to her dog

A mum-of-five escaped a blaze which swept through her wooden bungalow thanks to the frantic barks of her dog.

Valerie McKenna fled into the street in her night clothes after Jack Russell cross Beau raised the alarm at their home in Gordon Road, Highcliffe at 8.15am today, Thursday April 21.

The family home was totally destroyed in the fire, believed to have been caused by an electrical fault in the kitchen.

Dorset Fire and Rescue said the home did not have a working smoke alarm.

Three fire crews from New Milton and Christchurch tackled the fire, which involved 30ft flames and spread to a neighbouring property.

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Dog and Easter Egg

Everyone knows that fireworks are dangerous to pets. Every year, at appropriate times, such as Guy Fawkes night, we’re reminded to keep pets indoors. Yet this time of year – Easter – is a far riskier time for dogs for a simple reason: chocolate. The Veterinary Poisons Information Service recently published figures showed that chocolate was the most common poison to affect dogs in the UK with 1751 cases reported in 2010.

A small dog can die after eating a single Easter egg. The chemical in chocolate that gives humans a pleasant buzz – theobromine – has a highly toxic effect on dogs. A small chocolate feast that would be a pleasant indulgence for a human can kill a dog. Half a small bar of dark chocolate – around 50g (2 ounces) – is enough to end the life of a little terrier. Milk chocolate is less dangerous, needing twice as much for the same effect.

Small dogs are much more at risk. Like most poisons, the effect is dose-dependent, so a 40kg Labrador would need to eat eight times as much chocolate as a 5kg terrier to be affected.

This is not just some theoretical risk. As a vet in practice, I see dogs dying of chocolate poisoning every year. If animals are rushed to the vet within an hour of eating the chocolate, there’s a good chance that they can be saved. Drugs can be given to induce vomiting, emptying the stomach before the chocolate has had time to be absorbed. If treatment is delayed, and the poison has been absorbed into the dog’s bloodstream, there’s sometimes little that can be done to help.

The signs of poisoning start within six hours of the chocolate being eaten, reaching a peak at around twelve hours, and continuing for another 24 to 48 hours. During this time, the chocolate toxins wreak havoc with the function of the heart and brain. Despite the best veterinary care, many patients don’t survive.

The signs of poisoning start with restlessness, vomiting and diarrhoea, with tremors, convulsions and heart failure following soon after. It’s a desperately worrying time for owners: their beloved pets are left in intensive care at the vets, and it’s a matter of waiting, hoping and praying. Some dogs survive; many don’t.

The big risk, contrary to popular perception, is not dogs being given occasional chocolate treats by pampering owners. All of the crises that I’ve seen have involved dogs discovering stashes of chocolate. A box of chocolates is left on a table, or an Easter egg on a sideboard. The dog sniffs out the chocolate, tears the wrapping off and scoffs the whole lot within minutes. Most humans feel full after eating half a dozen chocolates. Dogs have no such “off” switch; they just keep eating the chocolate until every last one has been consumed.

The key to saving a dog’s life in this situation is speed. Any dog that’s eaten more than a square or two of chocolate needs to be rushed to the vet, so that their stomach can be emptied before the chocolate toxins have been absorbed into the bloodstream. Phone your vet at once, whatever the time of day or night. Get your animal treated as soon as possible, whatever it takes.

Dogs die unnecessarily every Easter. Don’t let your pet be one of them.

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Owners must control dogs

IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman James Murphy said all dog owners must ensure that their pets are under full control at all times and not allowed roam freely in the countryside where they can inflict horrific damage on a sheep flock.

Speaking following what was described as a ‘pure savage’ attack on a flock in Co Westmeath James Murphy stated, “23 ewes and 32 lambs were killed. Many more lambs were left orphaned and the entire flock traumatised.”

James Murphy said a dog attack on a sheep flock at this time of the year can inflict immense damage in terms of animal welfare and financial consequence.

The IFA Sheep Chairman commented, “Dog owners must be particularly vigilant in ensuring that their pets are securely housed at night. Attacks from a number of dogs hunting together at night are an all too common feature in the countryside.”

IFA is calling on all dog owners to ensure that their animals are under full control at all times and particularly at night. Dog owners should be aware that under the ‘Control of Dogs Act’, they can be held liable for any financial damage inflicted on a sheep flock from an attack by their dog.

James Murphy pointed out under the law it is not an offence for farmers to shoot marauding dogs threatening their flocks.

“The responsibility for marauding dogs rests with the dog owners and it is their clear duty to ensure that their dogs are under control at all times,” he concluded.

Original Source

Pit Bull Terrier (Banned in the UK)

Dog owners will face prosecution if their animal bites someone on private property under new legislation being drawn up by the Government.

They could also be served with dog control orders, dubbed “dogbos”, if their pets behave aggressively, which would require them to adhere to a number of strict conditions such as keeping the animal on a lead in public places or having it trained.

The plans to overhaul the dangerous dogs act will be published next month by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, according to The Times.

The move was welcomed by animal charities and unions who have fought for justice for the victims of badly trained dogs.

More than 5,000 postal workers and 400 telecom engineers are reportedly attacked by dogs each year.

Earlier this month, Royal Mail suspended deliveries to an entire street in Saltish, Cornwall, after a postal worker claimed she was bitten by a Jack Russell terrier.

But around 70% of incidents take place on private property, which is not covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

In 2008, Keith Davies had to undergo a six-hour operation after being attacked by two rottweilers while delivering post in Cambridge. But criminal charges brought against the owner were dropped because the incident took place on a private road.

Animal welfare organisations have warned about the rise in the numbers of “weapon dogs”, or aggressive animals used as status symbols.

The Communication Workers Union, which had launched a “Bite-Back” Campaign, calling for changes in the law on dangerous dogs, said the new legislation would force owners to take more responsibility for their dog’s behaviour.

Dave Joyce, the union’s safety and environment officer, said: “People always say ‘my dog never did that before’ but that’s not good enough. They haven’t tried hard enough.

“The majority of Britain’s dogs don’t present any problem but these changes are needed to drive responsible ownership and make people more cautious in respect of keeping their dog under control.”

The Kennel Club backed the new but said dog owners should be protected from prosecution if their dog bit after being provoked or attacks a burglar.

The RSPCA wants all dogs to be microchipped, to link them to an owner.

Last year, an independent inquiry into dog breeding recommended that all puppies be microchipped before they are sold on.

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